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The Picture Book Buzz

Shawn Loves Sharks - Perfect Picture Book Friday - #PPBF

In my interview of Curtis Manley on March 20th, we briefly talked about this newest book. I am so excited that it is finally available. It was definitely worth the wait. The way we handle frustration and disappointment tells a lot about a person. Do we give up and pout, proceed with passive aggression, attempt to coerce a change, or discover something new and amazing? The proverbial lemonade from lemons. With a soft touch, Curtis Manley explores obsessions, bullying, frustration, and friendship.

Shawn Loves Sharks

Author: Curtis Manley

Illustrator: Tracy Subisak

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (2017)

Ages: 4 - 8



Friendship, sharks, animals, obsessions, frustration, and bullying.

Synopsis (From Barnes & Noble):

Shawn loves sharks.

He loves their dark, blank eyes. He loves their big mouths full of sharp teeth. And he loves pretending to be a shark and chasing Stacy around the playground.

Shawn loves sharks more than anything else in the world. But Predator Day at school is on Monday and Great White Shark isn't assigned to Shawn.

It's assigned to...Stacy.

Opening Lines:

Shawn loved sharks.

He loved their streamlined shapes. He loved their dark, blank eyes. He loved their big mouths full of sharp teeth. He loved how they could sneak up on something tasty and grab it with one big bite.

What I like about this book:

Shawn doesn't just love sharks. He's obsessed with them. Tracy Subisak's ingenious illustrations of Shawn's shark costume, his mimicry of shark actions, and his pleasure at chasing others on the playground, especially Stacy, help demonstrate Shawn's passion. for sharks Tracy added her own touch of humor with an usually costumed sidekick. She also created a beautifully diverse cast.

When Shawn, learns about Predator Day, he knew he would draw the shark. But he selected the leopard seal and no amount of wheedling will change the result. In a nice twist, Shawn discovers not only that he admires seals, but he loves them, too. He also learns what is important in a friendship.

This is a great book with many layers, both in the text and the illustrations. In addition to providing fun information about sharks and seals, it is a great starting point for discussing friendships and bullying. With a gentle humor, visual interest, and fun which stand up to repeated readings.

Related Activities:

- Read a nonfiction book on sharks & learn about some different types of sharks.

- make a shark puppet and create a shark puppet show.

- printable shark activities & worksheets (

This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.

Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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